Contributed by Nicole Matei
Fernie Snowmobile Association
The Fernie Snowmobile Association (FSA) is making big moves in preparation for sledding season.
With the help of local corporate partner Sharp Trucking, the FSA heralded the arrival of winter through town as they transported three of their snowcat groomers from summer storage to their winter trailhead locations this week.
The trail society also eagerly awaits the arrival of their new Bison 350 snowcat from the manufacturer due later in November.
This new machine was purchased to enhance the maintenance program in the Coal Creek and Morrissey trail networks which have seen a boom in visitation not only from sledders, but also dog walkers, fat tire bikers, cross-country skiers, and hikers.
“This is your Snowmobile Trailhead and FSA Membership dollars at work” says Club President Justin Boehm.
“Our volunteers and staff have worked diligently over the past few years to improve local infrastructure and put Fernie on the map as one of the best riding destinations in BC”.
A 2018 Economic Impact Study produced by the British Columbia Snowmobile Federation found that sledding contributes $299.2 million dollars in provincial economic output each season, $69.2 million of that right here in the Kootenay Rockies region alone.
“Not only does snowmobiling create vibrant recreation opportunities for our locals, but it also provides important diverse revenue streams for rural communities like ours,” says Boehm, “we are far more than just a ski town.”
The FSA provides over 160 kilometres of maintained winter trails each winter alongside three backcountry warming shelters, five staging area facilities and several family friendly events.
“With people looking for different ways to get outdoors and maintain their physical and mental health under social distancing requirements, we are anticipating a very busy year,” continues Boehm.
“We acknowledge that every snowmobiler will make their own decision as to whether it is in their best interest to ride during these times or not.
“Should they choose to join us, we will welcome them but require cooperation with regards to the strategies that have been put in place for everyone’s safety.” A full list of measures has been posted on the FSA website.
Public can also access trail maps, conditions reports, riding area information, and purchase annual trail pass memberships online at www.ferniesnowmobile.com.